The dad of digital, the bit in byte

If you ask any stranger –for example during your next elevator ride– if he knows who Claude Shannon was, the odds are that you will get: “Claude who?”  Yet this blog believes that Shannon deserves to be even more talked about than Beyoncé, JZ, Trump, Steve Jobs, Bob Dylan, JK Rowling and Adele mixed together.

Just ponder this: if I was able to post this in my blog and you are reading it in the gadget of your choice, it is fundamentally due to Shannon.

In our own modest or immodest way, we all help shape the world. But he was the father of what we call information theory, which sprang from his 1948 A Mathematical Theory of Communication paper, which gave forth the digital age we live in.

All digital circuits can be said to be his offspring.

So ingrained is he in the digital fabric of our lives that the unit of measure that we call a bit  (as in bits and bytes) is officially called a shannon.

He has not gone viral in what we call the social media, but if we text, facebook, tweet, youtube and such, we should at least give a bit of a thought (bad pun unintended) to Claude, on his 100th anniversary.

shannon
See those eyes? They stare into the digital age.

Unfortunately, during his last years he had Alzheimer’s, so he did not get to appreciate fully what he had founded.

It is what it is, my dad would have said.

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